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tv   ABC World News Tonight  ABC  July 4, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT

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welcome to "world news tonight." on this fourth of july, a celebrating nation on alert. thousands of officers on guard, in the air, on the ground, from the national mall to the vegas strip. the guns out, dogs, too. our team, right there as police step up patrols from coast to coast. the fireworks display taking a terrifying turn. >> oh, my god. >> hot shells flying into a packed crowd, injuring spectators. how a holiday show went horribly wrong. july 4th washout. millions facing drenching rains in the southeast. mother nature's wrath and glory on full display. and, thieves smashing through glass, taking off with the whole atm and all the cash inside. the american city where atms are going, going, gone. and, broken streak.
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the reigning champ defeated so how many hot dogs does it take? good evening. and thank you for joining us on this holiday. i'm cecilia vega. we begin tonight with patriotic fever and fear around the country, as fourth of july celebrations are in full swing. police are on guard. take a look. this officer's face says it all. heightened security here in times square. in the nation's capital, officers lining the independence day parade. and in boston, bomb-sniffing dogs making sure the thousands gathered at the pops concert will be safe. teams of police tracking any possible threat. and our ron claiborne has been right there with them. he leads us off tonight from one of the country's largest celebrations, right here in new york city. >> reporter: this holiday weekend, crowds gathering to watch fireworks, enjoy a parade,
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take in a ball game, under the shadow of heightened concerns about the possibility of a terror attack. already, heavily armed squadrons of police deployed to city streets and at national monuments. but of course, anywhere is a potential target. abc's karen travers is in the nation's capital. >> a heavy security presence here in the national mall. 11 checkpoints just like this one. if you want to get a good spot for the concert or fireworks, your bags will be checked and anything suspicious will be confiscated. >> reporter: this, as homeland security and the fbi warn -- "holiday celebrations remain an attractive target." in new york city, 7,000 extra police have been placed on duty. >> our operating premise is that we are the target. >> reporter: so what are you, the nypd doing in response to this potential threat we're looking at? >> so -- that's a very good question. we are on patrol on land, you know, on the water and in the air. >> reporter: now, law enforcement and homeland security say there is no specific credible threat and
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they're advising americans to go about their normal lives just be a little extra vigilant this holiday weekend. cecilia? >> ron, thank you. and as millions of americans head out to enjoy tonight's fireworks, investigators are still trying to determine how a display in colorado went horribly wrong. fireworks flying directly into a crowd of thousands, injuring spectators. abc's kendis gibson reports. >> reporter: star spangled danger at this colorado fireworks show. up to 20,000 spectators gathered for the annual avon holiday display last night when this happens. >> is that, like, supposed to happen? >> reporter: the rockets shooting toward the crowd instead of the sky, after a rack of shells tipped over during the show. at least nine people injured. a similar incident two years ago north of l.a., injuring 36 people. >> oh, my god! >> reporter: the fireworks hitting spectators like shrapnel. it's the nightmare expert h. hanson is hoping to avoid tonight, as he makes safety checks ahead of the rose bowl
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celebration. >> well obviously it's fairly disastrous for the whole industry you know we all suffer when there's a tragic accident like that. >> reporter: it's not just big displays. individual fireworks causing serious damage, as well. most injuries occurring to the hands and facial area. eye injuries have even doubled in the last few years. >> it's the one day a year that adults, we watch them hand a sparkler that can reach 1,200 degrees to a young child. and tell them to go have fun. >> reporter: tonight, the nine people hurt in that colorado incident are said to be suffering minor injuries, including abrasions. the experts say these mortars are packed with so much explosives, they do everything they can to make sure these do not come in contact with the public. cecilia? >> so beautiful and so dangerous. kendis, thank you. and the dry weather out west forcing some fireworks shows to be canceled. fear that one spark could ignite a blaze. in the southeast, the worry tonight for millions is dangerous rain. not a happy fourth for this motorist stranded in flash floods in birmingham, alabama.
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and these pyrotechnics courtesy of mother nature. the happiest place on earth, getting a full lightning display. here's abc's senior meteorologist rob marciano with the storms and the forecast. >> reporter: a holiday super soaker, as strong storms pound the south this weekend. residents near birmingham, alabama, waking up to life-threatening flooding. roads and cars swamped. this apartment complex in homewood inundated. police and fire rescue teams helping residents get out. and widespread flooding in northern mississippi -- roads, parks and restaurants under water. the town of new albany approaching a foot of rain in less than 48 hours. in the west, it's the lack of rain, plus record heat and fourth of july celebrations producing wildfires. the latest, in eastern washington. >> the way it raced past us was absolutely incredible. >> reporter: 50 homes forced to evacuate in springdale. over 500 acres burned, the fire sparked by fireworks.
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in california the drought causing communities across the state to cancel their public fireworks. and this afternoon, thunderstorms in washington, d.c. forcing the evacuation of a foo fighters concert at rfk stadium. historically, july produces the most lightning casualties in america. >> and rob is here now. all right, break it down. who is on the unlucky end and doesn't get to see the fireworks tonight? >> reporter: well, there's heavy rain across parts of the gulf coast. let's show you the map. this looks worse than it is. there will be some spots of clear skies across the southeast. where you'll get to see some of the fireworks. but the northeast is clearing out, thankfully. the northern tier, some severe storms there and some storms in the inner mountain west. the severe storms going to fire again across parts of south dakota, so, we'll watch that for large hail, maybe some tornadoes. we are watching this western heat especially across the pacific northwest. tomorrow, seattle may be the fifth day in a row where they see 90 degrees plus. that would be a record. and, of course very very dry out there, so they're trying to stay cool on this fourth of july. >> so hot out there. rob, thank you. and turning now to a warning
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to the millions behind the wheel on america's highways this weekend. the national safety council predicting more than 400 people will be killed in accidents on the fourth of july. the holiday considered the single deadliest day on the road. one major worry? drunk driving. abc's david kerley now on efforts to keep the roads safer. >> reporter: tonight, that urgent warning to be aware on the roads for this -- >> oh, my god. >> reporter: drunk drivers may help make this the deadliest fourth of july in recent memory. contributing this year? lower gas prices and a better economy. >> resulting in more miles being driven on our roads, unfortunately resulting in an increase in the number of deaths. >> reporter: that's why the national safety council believes more than 400 americans will die this weekend, and warns to be wary of drunk drivers. >> we're going to put these two on your wrist, the other one on your ankle. it's going to throw off your balance. >> reporter: ford has what they dub a "drunk suit." wow, that is like vertigo or something.
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used to simulate impairment to teach teen drivers the dangers of drunk driving. >> i need you to maintain that position -- >> reporter: i put on the suit and let park police sergeant adam zielenski put me through the paces of a d.u.i. stop. >> do you believe that you were able to operate a vehicle safely? >> reporter: there's no way. i mean, i -- i couldn't even get one foot in front of the other. police also worry that with yesterday's holiday in front of the fourth today, it could double the number of parties and the number of drunk drivers. there is hope. this, the car of the future, may have a built-in system to cut down on drunk drivers. it samples the driver's breath for alcohol and a touch system that measures the blood alcohol through the finger's skin with light. too much alcohol, the car won't start. it's at least five years away. david kerley, abc news, washington. overseas now, to greece. a country on the brink of collapse. banks shuttered, atms running out of cash. and now echoes in our country, vacationing greeks left stranded here penniless.
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abc's alex marquardt reports in from athens on the eve of one of the biggest showdowns in greek history. >> reporter: tonight, a country deeply divided. all week, the banks closed, life savings locked up inside. endless lines at atms, with withdrawals limited to just $67, if you're lucky enough to find one that still has cash. >> the country really has to pull itself together somehow. >> reporter: heartbreaking scenes, like this retired man collapsing in tears after failing to get his wife's pension. last night, tens of thousands turning out on both sides of sunday's historic referendum that may impact not just greece's future in europe but the world economy, as well. a simple yes or no vote on a bailout plan, but the implications and the ballot itself could hardly be more complex. >> if you read the ballot, nobody can understand it. >> reporter: valasia limnioti and konstantinos patronis saved for a year for their dream honeymoon to the u.s., only to have their cards declined in
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new york city, leaving them without a penny. >> our families couldn't help us, because they couldn't give us money. >> reporter: that he couple helped out by two greek orthodox churches in queens that gave them $350. it's going to take an awful lot more than that to get greece out of this mess, and tomorrow's referendum may only complicate things further. cecilia? >> alex, thank you. and back here at home we are learning more about a tragic medical helicopter crash. that chopper meant to save lives, plunging to the ground in colorado killing the pilot. now, investigators are piecing together what went wrong. the latest tonight from abc's devin dwyer. >> reporter: tonight, the ntsb is investigating why a flight for life ended up costing one. patrick mahany, a decorated vietnam pilot, who abc news met just last year over an avalanche zone. >> the flight for life saves more lives, helps more people. tragedies like this are awful. >> reporter: eyewitnesses saying the medical chopper, a single engine a-star like this
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one, had barely gotten off the ground before spinning out of control and bursting into flames. >> bystanders were all rushing to try to save the crew members. >> very experienced pilot. very good crew. but the idea that the aircraft lost control would indicate a mechanical failure rather than pilot error. >> reporter: the chopper was not carrying a patient, but a nurse and medic on board were seriously injured. it's the latest deadly accident for a rapidly growing industry. last year, this air ambulance spinning off the roof after dropping off a patient in new mexico. in 2010 two medical choppers collided mid-air in arizona -- six dead. the number of air ambulances in the skies up 56% in the past decade. now carrying 400,000 american patients every year. >> it's very lightly regulated, but they're doing some of the most dangerous flying, the most challenging flying that can be done anywhere in the world. >> reporter: a risky race to save more lives, but also make a profit. more than a third of the nation's medical helicopter fleet, run by just three private companies. it's a business the faa and ntsb
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are aggressively trying to make safer with better training better coordination and more transparency on costs for consumers. cecilia? >> so much on the line. devin, good to have you here in new york with us. thank you. turning now to an upset in the world of sports across the pond. the defending champ is out. petra kvitova, losing today, defeated by former world number one jelena jankovic. it's a result that nobody saw coming. a loss seemed impossible for kvitova, a two-time wimbledon winner. and what better way to celebrate the fourth than with a world cup victory? the excitement is building for team usa. the women's national team about to take on japan tomorrow. in a deja vu duel, stirring up all kinds of memories and inspiring a whole new generation of soccer fans. abc's jesse palmer is in vancouver, where the fans are going wild? >> reporter: you know, cecilia, we may be in canada but you wouldn't know that judging by the crowds here on the streets. the excitement building for team usa.
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the women's national team getting set to take on japan tomorrow. team usa on the field, gearing up for tomorrow night's epic battle. and for a chance at redemption. after that devastating loss to japan at 2011's world cup final. >> oh japan has done it again! >> this is it i mean, no regrets. no holding back. full throttle. >> and we'll be hopefully on that top podium. >> reporter: we all remember that win 16 years ago. that nail-biting shootout and 30 minutes of overtime. that ball blasting past china's goalkeeper. defender brandi chastain falling to her knees after that winning shot. electrifying a nation and sending legions of girls onto soccer fields across the country. nearly 375,000 high school girls playing the game last year. tomorrow night, so many young athletes expected to be here cheering this team on, rooting for another magic moment. >> i believe that we will win!
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>> reporter: and just to give you a sense of what a victory would mean for team usa, the american women looking for a third world cup title, something no other team has done before in women's world cup history. cecilia? >> victory would be so sweet. jesse, thank you. and we have much more ahead on "world news tonight." coming up, holiday travel hell. why a routine flight from las vegas to baltimore took 24 hours to finally get to its destination. and up next, smash and grab. how those machines that give us quick cash are becoming an easy way for thieves to make a quick buck. tonight, the american city where atms are targeted twice a week.
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>> reporter: tonight, a storefront in shambles in ft. worth, texas. the aftermath of what police say was a dramatic smash and grab atm robbery. this aggressive crime in which thieves smash through glass and attempt to haul off whole atms, sharply on the rise. this year, there have been more than 50 attempted heists, all over the dallas/ft. worth area. >> a lot of the stores are small convenience stores. they are individual owners. just trying to run a business. >> reporter: even a snail salon at a hotel targeted. just last week in dallas this white pickup truck striking this gas station food mart twice. four masked men lifting the atm into their vehicle in less than a minute. >> it's a crime that's well calculated. >> reporter: surveillance cameras often catching suspects in the act, but police say, because the thieves often wear masks and use stolen cars they can be hard to track down. one industry analyst estimates people use vehicles more than 100 times a day, nationwide, to
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smash into buildings to commit theft. thieves making off with an atm in this seattle area grocery store, even though it was bolted to the ground. >> there isn't anything in our emergency manual that prepares you for an industry-sized truck coming in and yanking a cash machine out. >> reporter: tonight, in texas, authorities say they have tracked down one suspect, but are still searching for two more in this latest heist. and bracing for the next one. aditi roy, abc news, san francisco. still ahead on "world news tonight," a fourth of july upset at a fourth of july tradition. so, how many hot dogs did this guy have to eat to become the new reigning champ? i have type 2 diabetes. i started with pills. and now i take a long-acting insulin at night. i take mine in the morning. i was trying to eat right, stay active. but i wasn't reaching my a1c goal anymore. man: my doctor says diabetes changes over time. it gets harder to control blood sugar spikes after i eat and get to goal. my doctor added novolog® at mealtime for additional control.
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and straight now to the index and a holiday travel headache. 139 passengers boarding a southwest airlines flight out of las vegas had no idea their 4 1/2-hour trip to baltimore would turn into a 24-hour ordeal. a faulty cockpit warning grounded the plane in kansas. passengers stranded on the tarmac. the airline ordering pizza. there was a flight to dallas, hotel rooms there, too, before they finally made it to baltimore, just in time for the fourth. and next, from being stranded on the ground to stranded 40 stories up. in florida, the 400-foot tall orlando eye, right there, 66
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riders stuck when the wheel shut itself down. it took rescue crews three hours to evacuate everyone. the ride is finally back up and running once again. and giving a defending champ a serious run for his title, an upset at this year's nathan's hot dog eating contest in new york's coney island. matt "megatoad" stonie, yes, that is his name beating eight-time defending champ joey chestnut by polishing off 62 hot dogs and buns in just ten minutes, beating chestnut by just two. and when we come back, another big contest, the battle heating up tonight for the country's biggest fireworks display. will music city end up taking a bite out of the big apple? what do you got to offer us today? ♪balance transfer that's my game♪ ♪bank you never heard of, that's my name♪ haa! thank you. uh, next. watch me make your interest rate... disappear. there's gotta be a better way to find the right card. whatever kind you're searching for, creditcards.com lets
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>> reporter: let's face it. all fireworks are local. sure, you can watch them on tv, and then you say, you've seen new york's fireworks. that's what these are from last year. or, you've seen boston's display. or here in washington where we first have the parade and then the show or rather famously last year when we saw nashville's show from the point of view of a drone. but you really have to be there. it's being on the ground, around people, looking up, being awed, as in moore park california, where they did it last night. and so, it's only in the spirit of fun, really, that in nashville, a guy named butch spiriden seemed so set this year in being bigger than new york, because, new york, after all -- >> new york's the gold standard. new york is the bar. new york has the statue of liberty. >> reporter: true. >> d.c. has the monuments. >> reporter: that's true, too. >> we figure the only chance we've got is to do it with fireworks. >> reporter: which means what? well the new york display is said to send 54,000 shells into
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the night sky. so, in nashville tonight? >> we have a 31-minute show with -- i'll say north of 55,000 shells. >> reporter: well, great. but does it matter, really? look, go outside tonight, look up at the sky, enjoy, be among neighbors. go local when the sky lights up. john donvan, abc news, washington. >> go outside and enjoy. thank you for spending your fourth of july with us. "gma" and "this week" in the morning. we will see you right back here tomorrow night. i'm cecilia vega in new york. enjoy the rest of your holiday. good night.
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>> tonight -- join rick, cecily, karen and adam live on the parkway for the philly 4th of july jam featuring the roots,ic miguel, jennifer nettles and other special guests. join us as we show our viewer picks. it's the largest free concert in the u.s. and it's on 6abc! "wawa welcome america!" now live from the benjamin franklin parkway in philadelphia, rick williams and cecily tynan. >> hi, everyone, and happy fourth of july! >> we are live on the benjamin franklin parkway. >> and we are getting ready for the largest free concert in america! it's the "wawa welcome america! philly 4th of july jam." >> we'll be bringing the entire concert to you live followed by the fireworks at 11:00

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